I can go to Court to represent myself, that seems like a good idea right!??   Wrong, I have seen too many very sad situations in a court room (particularly bankruptcy court) where self represented litigants just don’t know bankruptcy law and they have caused themselves so much harm (and in some cases causing hundreds of thousands in $$ and losing their homes!).   In some cases, representing yourself is the best idea. Especially with a straight forward debt worth under $10,000.  With proper evidence and vocabulary, you could do quite well for yourself at the Local Court, Magistrates Court or VCAT with a sympathetic decision maker.   However, with insolvency matters (like winding up or bankruptcy) and with debts that are over $10,000, then things are more complicated and confusing, especially if your opponent or debtor is legally represented. If you are a debtor yourself, and you have a genuine dispute, then, its not wise to represent yourself.  If you are a Director, then you can’t represent yourself without leave of the Court being granted.

It takes lawyers many years to be educated with a law degree, then years further to be trained in practical aspects, and then many years of practising law, to become very good at what they do.  Working with an experienced lawyer is not meant to be a “joyful” experience.  Rather, your lawyer is representing your legal interests.  Its meant to protect your legal rights, sometimes that doesn’t feel good.   As a lawyer, I can sometimes be too egotistical, and that I can lack good “bedside manner” for some clients and sometimes that bluntness, upsets clients who don’t like to be given honest blunt, honest, straight forward advice – especially when it is telling them to do something that they don’t like.   Perhaps engaging a good lawyer is just like engaging a good surgeon?  You are not paying for the friendship or the bedside manner, you are paying for their expertise and ability to protect your legal interests.  Remember, you are not awake telling your brain surgeon how to do brain surgery.  In my experience, in my best cases, working with my best clients, our best results come from a client allowing me to use my expertise, trust me to do my best work, without trying to tell me how to practise law.  I think this is what clients pay for. The strategy, skills and experience.  I am also professionally prohibited from being a mere mouthpiece for my client.

In some instances, in the right circumstances, I do recommend some potential clients, to DIY their case, and don’t engage me, especially when their legal rights are relatively simple.  However, with other cases that are more complex, there is no way I recommend DIY law.   Ultimately, how you manage your debt or dispute is ultimately up to you but I am not persuaded that complex cases are best served by self represented litigants.

Some links that you might find handy to self represent and DIY your case are published by the Courts see:

Link to Supreme Court of Victoria – “representing yourself”

Link to Magistrates Court of Victoria – “representing yourself”

Link to County Court of Victoria – “representing yourself”

Link to Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – representing yourself

This is is original writing of Kristine Hopkins (see more about Kristine here) and may not be reproduced without permission, this writing is not written by AI or CHAT GPT or similar but is her own original work.  This is not legal advice and is the opinion of Kristine the writer.